julie’s story

shawnp_story

julie harrison … special gifts

As a mom of three, I can say it’s inevitable when the day finally comes to have your baby, that you are a ball of emotions. Feelings are everywhere — nervousness, excitement, fear. All you really want and pray for is a smooth delivery and a healthy baby. When the moment finally arrives, what do you want? You want to hear a huge cry and for the doctor to say he or she is perfect. Right? Because we know he or she is. All newborn babies are! It’s a moment of joy! It’s a moment that you and your husband will never forget! The love and emotions that take over your body are unexplainable! Unimaginable!

So imagine the moment you realize that something is not right.

The moment I held my beautiful angel boy, I knew something was different. I just knew, he had Down syndrome. Immediately, fear took over my body. Fear for my baby. Is he going to be okay? Is he healthy? Is his heart okay? Should I tell my husband? Everyone kept saying that he was fine. I was so scared. In the moments and time that followed, it was all a blur. I know that my pediatrician came in and validated what I saw. He explained that Shawn Patrick showed characteristics of Down syndrome, but that they would have to do genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Finding a friend.

I also remember my pediatrician asking if we would mind him telling a friend about us. This was a family with a son with Down syndrome. He wanted to know if we would like to talk to them. We were more than happy to meet with this couple. This was the moment that we found some comfort. The feelings of sadness and the fears that we may never be able to travel or leave Thibodaux again were soon gone. This couple explained that it was okay to have all of the feelings we were experiencing. It was natural that we would grieve the baby we thought we were going to have. It didn’t take long us to realize that we were going to be fine.

Let’s jump almost three years later.

My angel boy has brought me more love, more joy, more fun, more spunk, more great moments and sometimes embarrassing moments, to my life than I could have ever imagined. When he enters a room, it’s like a huge light is turned on. He has a gift! He has an effect on people like I have never seen. People gravitate toward him because they know he is a special gift from God. His smile lights up a room, and the sparkle in his eye can bring a tear to yours. With no words spoken, this tiny human being can brighten my darkest day.

I thank God every day for choosing us to be Shawn Patrick’s family. He has taught us to be more accepting of others and more open to change. He has opened my eyes and given me a whole new perspective on life. He is a daily reminder that we are all God’s children, created in his image and likeness. Although there are hard times, there are difficult times with all children. The good far outweigh the bad. This is why Shawn and I are so happy to be of help in any way to all people with “special needs” children. Because they are all just that, special.

Special gifts from God!